Staying motivated

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Staying motivated when studying can be difficult, especially when we all have social lives and other priorities to attend to. Even the most voracious students might feel like studying is the last thing they’d like to do or whether they’d be better off doing something else. You need to find ways to stay motivated so you can make the most of your degree, whilst having a great time at University.

Tips for staying motivated

Tips for staying motivated

Studying effectively requires focus and balance. We can engage in unhelpful thinking that make us more inclined to self-sabotage, or doubt our abilities. For instance, we might feel guilty for going out and socialising, as we feel we should be studying. However, a student who studies for 40 hours a week isn’t automatically successful with their studies, as they might not be working effectively and efficiently. Our focus should be on our academic goals, and achieving them realistically and to the best of our abilities, but we should aim to twin focus with balance too, and accept that in order to make the most of our time at university, we need to study, whilst dedicating time to other activities too. Here are some tips for getting started with your study:

  • Start early – you only need a pen and piece of paper/ access to a device to get started. Don’t wait until you have every possible book needed.
  • If you don’t feel like studying, then allow yourself 10 minutes to jot down questions or areas that you would like to look into later. You might find that this 10 minute session is all you need to encourage more study.
  • Familiarise yourself with your assignments as soon as you get them. Your brain will begin to attend to this, even when you move on to something else!

(Cottrell, 2019, p. 103)


This refers to the actions taken by many people (not just students) to sabotage their own plans and progress, either intentionally or unintentionally. It is important to understand the underlying reasons for self-sabotage; sometimes, you may feel that it is simply unimaginable that you will make progress on your course, especially if we have struggled previously. To fail might ‘prove’ the feelings we held before about our academic abilities, or we might encourage failure so that the ‘inevitable’ is over and done with! Self-sabotage can manifest in many ways, but to name a few:

  • Not attending lectures or seminars
  • Leaving assignments until the last minute
  • Missing deadlines
  • Not attending exams
  • Filling time with any activity except study
  • Refusing to enter the library
  • Spending all of your time in bar

(Cottrell, 2013, p. 116)

Further resources on staying motivated

Further resources on staying motivated: